Swimart Rockhampton's Brandt Cogill trains with Ben Bowes.
The former motor mechanic / diesel fitter has been involved with karate since he was seven years old and today the black belt champion is a 4th Dan. "I like the discipline, the values and what it teaches people," Brandt admits. "It's a way of life."
Brandt has competed in a number of national and international events, and he admits a highlight was the 2009 Shotokan Karate World Championships held in Greece, where he made the top eight in free sparring. Another highlight was winning gold medals three years running at the Shotokan Karate International national championships.
Brandt says the five rules of karate have also prepared him well for his business and day-to-day life. These rules are:
1. Seek perfection of character
2. To endeavour
3. To be faithful
4. Respect others
5. Refrain from violent behaviour
"I like the philosophy behind karate," says Brandt. "It has taught me a lot, and I relate a lot of how I run the business. It also gave me the courage to change my career and get into something completely different!"
It was in mid 2010 that Brandt and his parents, Rockhampton local graziers Danny and Kym Cogill, established Swimart Rockhampton, following the retirement of well-known locals Gordon and Hazel White, who shared 26 years of swimming pool and spa expertise with locals.
"We had been looking for around five years for a business to buy, knew of the pool store in Rockhampton, and then did some research on Swimart," Brandt explains. "Everything stacked up well and we made the decision to open the Swimart store because of the strength of the name, its quality products, superb service to customers as well as the solid infrastructure support it gives to its franchise network.
"Swimart particularly appealed to us because of its devotion to serving customers' pool and spa needs. Twelve months on, I've found there have been a lot more rewards than any other job I've worked in."
Brandt Cogill and the Swimart Rockhampton team with Swimart Ambassador Susie O'Neill.
Strong community ties
Brandt admits being a local, knowing the previous owners of the pool store, and knowing many of Rockhampton's residents has helped immensely in establishing the business. "Rocky is a large country town," he says.
The Cogills have a strong association with the Rockhampton district. Danny and Kym regularly compete in camp drafting throughout Queensland, and are well known in the rodeo scene. And Brandt is a familiar face around the Rockhampton area, as owner of the Fitzroy Karate Club.
Recently Brandt took part in his fourth world event, competing at the World Karate Confederation's world championships at Liberc in the Czech Republic. Competing in a number of disciplines, Brandt finished in the top 10 in both kata (forms) and kumite (free sparring).
Twenty-four countries competed in the championships, including Australia, Czech Republic, Serbia, USA, Scotland, Ireland and Russia. Brandt was a member of nine-person squad from Australia, and he reached the semi finals, coming up against strong competition.
"I was happy with my performance because I have been out of competitions for the past year because of my business commitments," he says.
Brandt is now focused on the Shotokani Karate championships to be held in Australia in September 2010, and he intends to train twice a day, six days a week to get ready.